If there’s no line outside your local watering hole and there’s no wait for the elliptical at your gym, don’t fret. All your gay brethren are probably just doing their part for humanity by participating in AIDS/LifeCycle 2015 for the next week. The annual seven-day bike ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles that draws thousands of participants who help to raise money (last year $15.5 million was collected) and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year the life-changing journey attracted YouTube star Davey Wavey, who will join fellow internet personality Princess Joules, to provide viewers with a glimpse into the fundraiser and the personal stories of its riders. Davey chatted with Queerty about why he decided to become involved with this year.
Queerty: How did you become convinced to become involved with AIDS/LifeCycle this year?
Davey Wavey: As much as I surround myself with all things gay, I first heard about AIDS/LifeCycle only a year ago through a friend. I had no idea of the scope or scale of the event, nor the amount of funding that it provides for San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Since the rides began as the California AIDS Ride in 1993, participants have raised more than $200 million and completed more than 42,000 journeys on bikes from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Once I crawled out from the rock I was living under, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the event.
So you had no previous experience with the ride at all?
I have virtually no experience with the ride — and very little experience biking. What I do have in experience is using my platform on YouTube and social media to share a story or to support a cause. And that’s exactly what I’m hoping to do while on this year’s ride.
Why did you decide it was important for you to participate?
LGBTQ or otherwise, all of our lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. Having said that, we know that HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects our community – and it’s the same community that watches my videos and engages with my content Did you know that in the seven days it takes the riders to reach Los Angeles, more than 1,000 people in the United States will become infected with HIV and one out of every five people living with HIV nationwide is not aware of their status? By having a very personal investment in the ride, I can help to educate my audience about HIV/AIDS.
On the road, I’m going to be shadowing a husband and wife team who lost their young son to HIV/AIDS. I’m looking forward to capturing their experience and their story, and sharing it with my audience. This couple has a powerful and vital story that needs to be told. I’m honored to help tell it — and I hope to do it justice.
How do you intend to entertain yourself when you’re not on the bicycle?
I don’t anticipate having much down time. Each night, I’m going to interview the husband and wife whom I’m shadowing and trying to keep up with my social media postings. Not to mention, keeping me fed is a full time job so I should have my hands full.
Since you’re a prolific videographer, what kind of shenanigans should we look forward to seeing on YouTube?
I do love my shenanigans, but I don’t think this is going to be that type of trip or video! You’ll have to catch up with last week’s video, “Straight Guys Explaining Gay Sex Toys,” to get your fix.
As a very visible internet personality, you’ve met with both a lot of affection and scorn. How do you shrug off the negativity?
I know that people find my videos and personality to be polarizing. The truth is we live in a large and diverse world, and there is no one that’s going to please everyone. Sometimes I find the feedback to be constructive, and I do take it into consideration moving forward. When the comments are vitriolic, I know that it has very little to do with me and a lot to do with that person’s experience in life or own struggles, battles or internalized homophobia. I don’t take it personally.
What advice would you give to someone planning to pursue a career similar to yours?
Do it because you love it, not because you want to make a lot of money or reach a lot of people. If you’re truly driven by passion and doing what you love, the rest will fall into place.
Follow the AIDS/LifeCycle journey here.